2 - Fakir's Bed of Nails

Fakir's Bed of Nails is a great experiment that demonstrates the effect drawing pins have on balloons...the answer might not be quite what you expect!

What you will need

  • 2 balloons
  • 1 box of 100 drawing pins/thumb tacks - these are very sharp and can be dangerous so make sure an adult helps for this part. 

How to do it

  • Inflate the balloons and tie them off.
  • Take one drawing pin and place it pin upwards on the table (be very careful with this part!).
  • Press one balloon on the drawing pin and guess what happens – the balloon bursts!
  • Next take all the drawing pins and place them all point upwards as close together as possible.
  • Take the second balloon and press it down in the centre of all the drawing pins and see what happens…

What is happening?

Why did the second balloon not burst? With the first balloon all the downward pressure was just on one spot of the balloon. All the pressure was too much to handle for one single point on the balloon. However, when you pressed the second balloon down on all the pins, the pressure was divided between all the pin points. This divided pressure was not enough to puncture the balloon. 

Share your experiment...

Why not share your results on our Facebook page or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Our Boffins would love to see your scientific results!


This experiment uses drawing pins – be very careful where you leave them. They can be very painful if someone stands on one by mistake! Be extra careful if there are small children around and keep the drawing pins out of reach.

All experiments must be conducted in the safest possible way. An adult must be present wherever it states one is required. Never do anything dangerous with chemicals or fire for your sake and those around you.